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An important message about pharmacy benefits through Navitus Health

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On Monday, March 21, 2022, the message below was sent to members of UC medical plans with pharmacy benefits administered by Navitus Health.

Dear valued member,

We are writing to acknowledge — and apologize for — the problems many members of the UC community are experiencing with Navitus Health, a new administrator of pharmacy benefits for UC employee and Medicare PPO plans, and to let you know what we are doing to fix the problems.

Last year, University of California Health (UCH) and UC Systemwide Human Resources selected Navitus Health to administer pharmacy benefits, starting Jan. 1, 2022. This decision was made following an extensive formal bid process, conducted by a committee with representatives from UCH, Systemwide HR, UC faculty with pharmacy expertise, and UC’s retiree association.

Navitus was selected as the partner that could provide UC with the best overall flexibility, service, and affordability. However, since UC’s transition to Navitus Health, we have heard from too many members who have been negatively impacted by this change.

Some members have had to change prescription drugs, been required to complete time-consuming authorization processes and experienced denials by Navitus, causing unnecessary anxiety and frustration. Navitus failed to meet the scheduled target date for mailing a clinical transition letter, causing hardship and worry for faculty, staff, retirees and their family members.

Additionally, like many employers Navitus has faced customer service staffing challenges, leading to wait times that far exceed Navitus’ standards and UC performance guarantees. Among other things, this has put undue pressure on benefits professionals at UC locations and in the UC Retirement Service Center and the UCPath Center, as they have worked to provide support that should be handled by Navitus.

We take these problems — and our responsibility to ensure that members of UC health plans have access to the prescriptions they need — very seriously. UCH and UC Systemwide Human Resources have been in constant communication with Navitus, and we want to let you know what we are doing to fix these problems.

Support with member transitions

  • Due to the delay in mailing clinical transition letters, Navitus has provided an extended transition period to the end of April for drugs that are not covered. Extension letters and an email campaign were recently initiated.
     
  • Navitus will call members who need to transition to new medications directly and offer help with authorizations, denials, and appeals. Those who have experienced a denial for a Not Covered/Non-Formulary medication will also receive a phone call offering help.
     
  • UCH, Alliant (a UC consultant) and Navitus will audit and review the protocols Navitus uses for denials to ensure they are in alignment with Navitus internal guidelines, industry standards and Medicare guidelines – and to identify and correct any gaps.

Customer service improvements

  • Navitus has committed to adding an additional 35 customer service representatives (an increase from 125 to 160) by the end of April, and hopes to add another 15 staff after that, along with additional support for UC benefits professionals.
     
  • Navitus has also added two more personnel with pharmacy clinical expertise to help UC benefit professionals support members.
     
  • In addition, Navitus is exploring a concierge-type customer service model to ensure UC members receive the dedicated assistance they need.

Again, we sincerely apologize for any difficulties you or your family members have experienced during this transition. We are committed to you receiving the critical health care you deserve, without unnecessary inconvenience or frustration.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Lloyd
Vice President
Systemwide Human Resources
Dr. Carrie Byington
Executive Vice President
University of California Health

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